February 12, 2006

Though it’s written from a female perspective, Janis Ian’s At Seventeen conjures memories of being that age. lauralaitaine and Libby (WINOLJ) saw my college matriculation photo and said “aw, bless, you were such a huge geek”. I had huge square glasses and a pretty unfortunate haircut (although thankfully I’m not that bloke in the front row who is the only one wearing white trainers). I’d never had any sort of girlfriend, and wouldn’t for another 3 years. That’s a long time, when you’re 18. I held as an article of faith the idea that if I did find such a fortunate lady then all my problems would be solved at a stroke: I’d never be lonely again, in fact, I’d be just about as funky as you can be. (Aside: apparently there are people on the Internet who believe that the Mr Jones of the song is Adam Duritz’s willy: fortunately this turns out not to be true).

I’ve turned 30 today, so I’m reflecting on how far I’ve come. It’d be nice if there were a way to speak to the 18 year old me and let him know that articles of faith aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, but that that things would work out in the end (and maybe give him a little sartorial advice). I suppose that’s partly what I’m trying to do when I write things addressed to CICCU members or advise the Young People about Courting.

The stuff about hair and clothes is easy, but only gets you so far. The problem with my fantasy of setting my 18 year old self to rights is the obvious one: much of what I needed to learn cannot be taught. I suppose all anyone can do in giving advice is hope to help another person avoid your more spectacular mistakes, always assuming that those mistakes were the ones someone else would be prone to anyway.

I’ve had a great 30th. I’m amazed that I can fill a house with people who like me (at least, I’m assuming that was the motivation rather than free booze), especially at a week’s notice. That’s just about as funky as you can be.